On April 2, 1960, Wieden Hall was dedicated in honor of then President Clifford O.T. Wieden. The building included a gymnasium, classroom space, offices, and the University’s 400-seat auditorium.
Not only did the auditorium serve as the University’s largest lecture hall, it also became an important gathering place for campus events and a regional destination for visiting performers and speakers. Locals fondly remember the many productions the Pioneer Playhouse performed on the auditorium’s stage throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s. In addition, the Auditorium has long served as the spot where UMPI seniors conduct their graduation marching practice.
In recent years, the auditorium has been the performance space for the UMPI Community Band. In 2011, it also featured the hometown premiere of John Cariani’s Almost, Maine, which has become one of the most frequently produced plays in the United States, with over 70 professional productions and over 1500 community, high school, and university productions to date. And, in January 2013, the auditorium provided the backdrop for nationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Ellis Paul’s recent hometown performance.
Use of the space has decreased in recent years because of the facility’s deterioration. With strong community support, officials look forward to making the Auditorium Renovation Project a reality.